See an actual Elldy tampon with finger cots but no applicator - more tampons
A Japanese university student generously sent me the ad, along with others, some very old, which were part of a paper she wrote about the history of the Japanese menstrual products industry.
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
And, of course, the first Tampax AND - special for you! - the American fax tampon, from the early 1930s, which also came in bags.
See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Ad for Elldy menstrual tampon (Japan), Junie magazine (October 1996)

Japanese women, as I understand it, favor pads to tampons by a wide margin. In general, it seems to me that women in strongly patriarchal societies like Japan use pads (or nothing at all, which these Indian directions refer to) much more than tampons. I think that's the case in most of Asia and the Spanish-speaking world.

My theory, which can't be original: 

Men in strongly patriarchal societies want to know when women are menstruating so they can treat them specially, often badly, by Western standards at least. Tampons allow women to completely or almost completely conceal their period, eluding that control. (Reusable cups and sponges conceal even better, since a woman has nothing to throw away each time she uses it.)

A society that believes menstruating women exert a special power has a stake in knowing when women are menstruating - if I believed that, I would want to know too! Hey, it's important that wine and crops not be ruined! Menstruation is also an indication that a woman is not pregnant.

Remember, there are many people today who believe in the Evil Eye, a topic as interesting as menstruation. Menstruation has and certainly had a similar importance in many societies.

Note the English in the ad, probably simple so that most school girls could read it. English has status in many popular cultures of the world (see a German panty-pad ad using English), and I think the ad uses it to seem "with it." Most of the prestigious scholarly publications of the world are in English, making it advantageous for scientists and academics to learn it.

But the girls' eyes are Caucasian (the lines are vertical), the hair light, giving the impression that these are Western girls encouraging their Japanese counterparts to try Elldy. Japan is slowly allowing women to have more of a say outside the home (where women rule), and this ad seems to be a sign of that, especially when the girls seem so young.

I wish I could translate the text for you - and me. Can a reader?

A reader DID respond, in January 2001:


You had two questions on your Web site about Japanese tampon companies using English.

The first one (why are the instructions for opening the Elldy tampon packet in English?) is pretty simple. English is a decorative language in Japan, much in the same way that you'll see random Chinese characters (usually misprinted or completely out of context) on clothes and hats in the US just because it looks cool. Except that in Japan they've been using English as a decorative language for years and years and years now. With something as simple as "open" you really can't go wrong, but for some really funny examples of "Engrish" I recommend you going to (A good example of "Engrish" on your museum's Web site would be the Elddy tampon instructions that say "Let's enjoy tampon life!")

As for the girl saying "ummm," that's also pretty simple. That's just the ad using roman characters to spell out Japanese onomatopoeia (Roma-ji). She's just sighing comfortably.

[The writer later added:]

I'm just a regular Jane Schmoe that happened to grow up in Japan.

You have a GREAT museum!

Above: the left page in the two-page ad. The girl relaxing at top says, "Ummmmm . . . . . .," for which I have no explanation.
 Above: the right -hand page of the ad.

A Japanese university student generously sent me the ad, along with others, some very old,
which were part of a paper she wrote about the history of the Japanese menstrual products industry.

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